Ra. Chezhiyan’s debut directorial venture To Let has bagged the Best Feature Film in Tamil at the 65th edition of National Award. Earlier, he was cinematographer for big films like Thenmerkku Paruvakkaattru, Paradesi, Thaarai Thappattai and Joker. To Letwas produced by Prema Chezhian and screenplay and cinematography were handled by Chezhian.
Speaking to DC, a composed Chezhian says, “I feel really honoured that a good film has been selected. It’s definitely a thing to be welcomed.” Ask him if he expected an award when it was sent for the national honour, pat he replies. “Not really!! It’s like writing an exam. When the results come, if you score good marks, then you obviously feel happy. Here also it is the same case. I know there were other films which were competing.”
The general opinion is To Let is a Tamil film with a realistic approach without any commercial frills. comment. “There’s nothing called commercial or non-commercial in films. Cinema means commercial. It can be classified as ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’ cinema”, he retorts. “The award makes me more responsible and I want to give more such meaningful movies in future. I would continue my good efforts in direction department as well,” he says with a smile.
TO LET STORY
To Let is inspired from real life incidents. It’s a simple story of a couple with a child. It takes place in 2007 in Chennai, which is experiencing a real estate boom as a result of an exponential development of the IT sector. The child likes to draw; the mother likes plants and flowers. Dad tries to break into the world of cinema. The owner of their accommodation who is a little too greedy for higher rent, shows them the door. They have only thirty days to find new housing with their modest middle-class income. On their mopeds they start a race against time and fight all kinds of prejudice along the way.
Why did I make “TO LET” ?
The economical recession in the first decade of the new millennium and the arrival of the multinational companies led to the boom in IT industry at Chennai City in South India. Particularly in 2007 this changes led to the sudden and disproportional rise in rents due to the housing needs of the IT personnel with fat pay cheques. The opportunistic landlords tried to exploit the situation by asking the economically vulnerable tenant-families to vacate at short notice. People working in other sectors and the working class were hit the hardest. Thousands of tenants wandering on the summer streets with their children to find their new homes. As a witness I want to make a film without any compromises.